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#26 become more tolerant

27 Feb

This world is extremely diverse: Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, Independents, White, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, pro-choice, pro-life- I could go on and on. Over the years, and through my experiences (particularly within the past three years), I have become a more tolerant person. I am more aware of when people say things that aren’t necessarily politically correct and it does make me uncomfortable. I don’t think this is because they are racist or judgmental neccessarily, but rather they just don’t know any other way. If someone is raised a certain way and has certain beliefs, without certain experiences, their mindset is less likely to change.

I think an important aspect of humanity is to tolerate others. Not everyone will always be the same as you and believe what you believe- and that’s for the best. How boring would this world be if everyone thought and acted the same?! Yes, you are not always going to agree with someone, but it is so imperative that you attempt to understand their thoughts and actions. I appreciat my Teach for America experience and I am grateful for the people with whom I have interacted: fellow TFAers, my collegaues, and most importantly- my students.

Tolerance does not mean agreement; it simply means understanding and a mutual respect for another person. 🙂 Try it. With how the world is today, we sure could use more tolerance…in EVERY aspect. Check out more @ www.tolerance.org  There are some great articles on here that can be teachable moments and help to open your mind.

Today’s quote comes from a philosopher whom I enjoy:

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Choose to be great

17 Feb

This weekend was one of the best weekends of my life. I traveled to Washington, D.C. (for the first time!) for Teach for America’s 20th Anniversary Summit. For those of you unfamiliar with TFA, it’s goal is to end educational inequity and close the achievement gap. It was so powerful: I was able to connect with so many of my friends, both in LVV and those who are in other cities; I was re-energized and re-inspired after hearing the work of all the amazing alums who spoke; and my eyes were opened to other careers that I may want to pursue.

20 years. 1 day. by shay

This is the sign that greeted us as we entered the convention center. The people you see in the picture are just a few of the 11,000 (yes 11,000) TFA alums and current corps members. 🙂 To the sides were tons of boths of schools (both public and charter), graduate schools, and companies that were available for networking. I got ton of pens, post-its, and water bottles..in addition to making connections!

I am going to post some of the video clips that I found most inspirational that day- and there were so many amazing people who spoke. I am just going to post the three that are most profound…Enjoy! 🙂

http://vimeo.com/19908808 This is a clip of two TFA alums who are now Senators reflecting on their role in changing outdated policies so that our students can get the best education: Bill Ferguson and Michael Johnston

This is the closing reflection by Jeremy Beard: “Choose to be great so our children can be free.” http://vimeo.com/19909263

And the last clip is of one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed: John Legend (huge supporter of TFA) perfoming with KIPP DC orchestra. KIPP is one of the high-performing charter schools that are across the country. http://vimeo.com/19909406 

“One day all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.”

#331 ask someone to tell you their purpose in life

3 Feb

It seems like the eternal question that may never be answered… Why am I here? Just the other day in fact I was watching an episode of Greek and two of the characters had to answer that question for an assignment in their philosophy class. I’ve bought books about the subject: The Purpose-Driven Life & The Alchemist. I’ve never finished both…but while I am thinking about it, I may try to restart the former tonight. Whatever our purpose here has something to do with love, compassion, peace, truth, meaning, courage…maybe!

I personally have no idea what my purpose is…I think it has something to do with helping people. If I could just help people all over the world for the rest of my life, I would love it. I’m sure my actual purpose is not as broad as that endeavor though. 🙂

What is your purpose? Is that a question you have ever considered? I am interested in hearing your thoughts…leave a comment or reach me another way if you know how!

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”

  ~Erma Bombeck

…..&

“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

 ~Emily Dickinson

#6 cultivate hope when disaster hits

28 Dec

The disaster above is a picture from the earthquake from last year in Haiti

Hope being cultivated by Red Cross volunteers 🙂

Hope is defined as: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best (noun) or to believe, desire, or trust (verb). We have all lived through some sort of disaster or tough situation. When a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina or the oil spill or the earthquake in Haiti occurs, the better parts of humanity shine through. People band together and create hope: hope that there are more survivors than thought, hope that they can make a difference. With these disasters, hope is cultivated through volunteers, donations, and prayers.

Thankfully, such disasters are not as prevelant as our own personal disasters are. A lot of times it is easy simply to give up and cave in to the feelings of despair, anger, and frustration. However, we all know that those feelings aren’t beneficial and do not alleviate the situation. In these situations, it is easy to think “why me” and/or “great something else goes wrong in my life”- I know I have done that… but it’s best to hope for the best of the situation… Maybe that minor car accident can lead to you getting a new paint job on your car- or overdrawing your bank account will allow you to really assess where you are spending your money! Like the age old mantra “everything happens for a reason”- even though that is sometimes annoying to think or have other people tell you, I truly think it is true.

“What seems to us are bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

-Oscar Wilde

#2 smile more often

16 Dec

 I know I have blogged this before in a good deed, but let’s refresh our memories!

Our author suggests the following: smile and hold it for 10 seconds, as you are holding it, think the mental affirmation: “I am happy, totally, blissfully happy.” Smile at someone- this is even better if you smile at someone you don’t know. A smile makes anyone’s day better. Be aware- if someone smiles at you, PLEASE smile back! How sad is an unreturned smile?

When your boss asks you if you can do just one more thing; or your waitress accidently forgets to put in your order in; or when the person sitting in the plane seat next to you has a screaming child….just SMILE! Think those happy thoughts: your boss really believes in you; or at least your waitress didn’t spill your meal on you; or thankfully that screaming child is not yours…(yet haha). Plus, even if you fake a smile, your body is reacting to it as if it is real.  So, as the picture is…Keep on smilin!

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think.  Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.

  ~A.A. Milne

(I know I have used this quote before, but I love it!)

#683 pick up a friend from the airport

28 Nov

I am what I like to call the Las Vegas airport expert. Over the past few years, I have driven my friends to and from the airport numerous times. Earlier flights, late flights, it doesn’t matter. If a friend needs a ride there, or a ride home, I am there.

I’ve heard a quote that a true friend is someone who will pick you up from the airport at 3 am. I would do that for any of my friends and I hope they would do the same.

So, anytime a friend or family member, heck even a neighbor or co-worker needs to get to the airport or come home, do it! I find it exciting manuevering my way in and out of lanes, past the taxis, and crossing the bump before the pedestrians get a chance to cross (hahaha). Cece (who I am picking up tonight) once gave me a nice compliment “Pange, you should be a taxi driver during the summer.” Granted, I don’t know if she meant it as a compliment, but that is how I took it! 🙂 

“A friend is one who walks in when others walk out”
-Walter Winchell

#436 volunteer with meals on wheels

26 Nov

“what is the ultimate purpose of life?”

-“to give…start giving.”

Those words were stated by Narayanan Krishnan. Never heard of him? I never had either, until this morning as  I was watching CNN Heroes: Tribute. Krishnan is one of the ten heroes being honored by CNN. He was a chef at a five star hotel in India, who in 2002 quit his job so that he could feed, bathe, shave, and love the homeless, mentally ill, and elderly who are left on the streets uncared for. His story made me cry, as have all the other AMAZING heroes. Please, please, please check them out and get inspired! http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/11/21/cnnheroes.hero.of.year/?hpt=C2 Read about them there…and if you are able to catch a rerun of this tribute….please do!

I haven’t posted for awhile and I apologize. I had been busy, and tired! But the holidays have rejuvanted me to stay on top of my blogging. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to deliver a Thanksgiving meal to a homebound person. I also did this my first Thanksgiving in Vegas thanks to my church, St. Thomas More. After a nice breakfast and mass, I stood in line to get my meals. The meals consisted of two large turkey slices, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberries, green beans, pumpkin pie, a bottle of lemonade, a roll, AND a prayer card with a decorative turkey. I was delivering two meals to a Ms. Nellie Rae. When I arrived, I found a quaint home…decorated so that it was clear that they were big fans of hunting and the outdoors. I also found two friendly dogs and Nellie. Nellie is bound to her hospital bed. She layed in her big bed, which was positioned in the living room, so she can watch tv. She was grateful to see me and to have a hot meal. I didn’t stay after I dropped the meal off, but she thanked me profusely for dropping the meal off and stopping by. It was a reminder of how LUCKY I am to still be relatively healthy (hernia and gastritis aside).

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving and they realize how truly lucky they are to be alive. Please check out the CNN heroes. Think about how you can give…the holiday season is the “recognized” time of giving: Angel Trees, volunteering, donations, anything. Until tomorrow….

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson